Friday, 8 June 2018

The Pain of Politics - It's Personal

Last night, Ontarians voted in a majority PC government–led by the alleged former drug dealer (and rumoured murderer) and brother of Toronto's infamous Crack smoking former mayor.



I've been holding back tears all morning and not doing a very good job of it.

The reason it hurts so much is something people with more privilege–especially the rich, white, adequately housed variety–won't as easily understand.

When you're already a marginalized person–a person of colour, Indigenous, disabled, a drug user, poor, a sex worker, a woman, queer, fat, an immigrant, etc.–you see and feel the hatred of society and your peers constantly. When you look to the media, you can barely–if at all–find even one positive representation of yourself. Everything around you tells you that you're less-than, unworthy of love and dignity, a walking stereotype. These false representations fuel the hatred, and the cycle goes on, and eventually you internalize it. Cue self-hatred, in a time rife with "body positivity", when not loving yourself fully and completely is a cardinal sin.

But you do what you can. You find those positive representations when you can. You throw your last $20 at movies like Black Panther to say, to a capitalist world in its native tongue "HEY! I WANT MORE OF THIS!"

But then, a rich, elitist, entitled blowhard white supremacist bigot comes along, one who's openly anti-immigrant, wants to claw back women's rights and has a history of attacks on women, and get rid of rent control and "have the market dictate" terms during the worst housing crisis Toronto has ever seen (where rents have skyrocketed to over $1700 for a one bedroom apartment far outside of downtown–caused almost entirely by a LACK of rent control, speculators leaving homes vacant, and a lack of affordable housing) all while talking about "I'm here for the little guy" when he is precisely the kind of person who is here for the mammoth: corporate interests.

Doug Ford voter
And you think... surely people aren't buying this, right? It's so blatantly false. He has no numbers. He can't reduce the debt without gutting basic and essential services, or raising taxes. A BUCK A BEER? Really? The NDP wants to introduce universal dental care, for shit's sake. Surely that's more appealing than a bunch of lies and a bottle of gross Lakeport? Where is the critical thinking?

But no... they're buying it, and so you think that surely you can appeal to their humanity. Do they not have a woman, an immigrant, a single solitary non-white person, a poor person, anyone in their lives who will be seriously impacted if he wins? Like, do this for me because I don't want to have to fight, again–in 2018– for my right to control my own body?

But no. You wake up to discover they won a majority. And, our really backwards "first past the post" and non-proportional voting system aside, it hits you that you are surrounded by people who are either:

• Incredibly stupid and prone to manipulation and clever marketing tactics, and should probably have their right to vote taken away from them
• Racist, and more concerned with becoming low-key alcoholics than helping refugees
• Racist, but in denial about that racism, or just racist enough to let Ford's racism slide
• Sexist, with a hatred of women so deep they refuse to vote for one far more qualified, who actually has their interests at heart, or for a woman who arguably did A LOT of good for this province and left it thriving, and without any thought to the battle women will now have to fight just to have control over our bodies
• Entitled, rich dipshits who give no fucks about the average person struggling to survive and should be deported to a capitalist country - last I checked, Canada was still technically socialist
• All or most of the above

FOLKS: Two qualified female politicians and a probably former drug dealer
with a failing business. Photo: TVO.org.
And that is sad. And it is very difficult not to internalize and personalize it. That a majority of your neighbours would put ALL our livelihoods in jeopardy over some basic bullshit dressed in Leafs colours? You feel surrounded by enemies. You feel hated, vulnerable, and terrified.

When that same society that already vilifies you takes that shit to the polls and makes it official, systemic, institutional... how do you not cry/rage/fret about that?

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